The Fine Print:
Written by: Hitoshi Iwaaki
First Published: 1988
Adapted for anime in 2014
Anime Written by: Shoji Yonemura
Directed by: Kenichi Shimizu
Music: Ken Arai
Parasyte: The Maxim starts by introducing you to Shinichi Izumi, a kind, gentle high-schooler who’s life changes dramatically when he is infected by an “alien” parasite. Shinichi experiences some of the changes overnight – namely, that the parasite is cognizant and can operate independent of his body.
Resolved to making it work, the parasite, who named himself Migi, continues to push Shinichi outside of his comfort zone on questions of morality, person-hood and personal accountability as it comes up in the series.
Eventually, it becomes an infection that law enforcement has become aware of and they are actively working on being able to identify and eliminate the so called monsters after a escalating attacks on the town and school.
Shinichi suffers one tragic loss after another and starts living his life with the hope that he can make a positive impact after noticing a change in Tamura Reiko, a parasite who was able to infiltrate multiple human establishments and realizing love with Satomi Murano.
The will to fight was made difficult by the affiliates of Reiko – who had taken over the local government were outed.
Shinichi and Migi’s relationship throughout the series was rocky – and I appreciate that. I love that it was a great way to examine some of the more existential questions that plague us and make them universal: Why are we here? Are humans “good”? Is all life worthy?
The emotional growth of both Migi and Shinichi throughout the series allows me to forgive the minor issues I had with this show, namely Murano – typical, long hard stares and bleeding heart woman that follows (literally) Shinichi around and hopes that things turn around. While I see how her character was used, it was just that – there was not really much growth for the female characters in the show outside of Tamura Reiko which is just as well because she was such an amazing character.
One thing that really struck me from the first fight scene was how different the combat system looked – since parasites generally aim for the brain and have the ability to change their entire heads into their “fight ready” form. I won’t say much else about this because I’m trying to carefully avoid spoilers but it’s really fun to watch and you do feel the tension well.
This is another must watch anime; I have to admit that I binged watched the first 20 episodes in a few days and it took me weeks to build up the courage to finish it off. The last two episodes ruined me – I was weeping openly and without shame. The ending theme crushed me on the final episode, I absolutely wasn’t ready.
I look forward to re-watching this anime already and to talking with you folks about it.
You can find Parasyte the Maxim on Crunchyroll, Toonami (boo, dubbed) and your usual anime streaming haunts.